Is the US creating pedophiles by its laws?

How many kids, 18 or 19, have been charged with statutory rape for sex with their 16/17 year old girlfriends? Then upon release they have to register as sex offenders and their photo and address is publicly circulated. This is dangerous, not only for the fact that it invites vigilantism but because if you tell a man that he’s a pervert he may well start believing it and acting upon it.

And it’s all completely avoidable. In many countries (such as the UK) the age of consent is 16 and I don’t notice the sky fallng in those places. What is it with this bizarre American insistence that at 16 you’re a child and in some respects a child until you are 21 years of age?

A 16-year old isn’t a child, they are young men or women and the sooner the US realizes that the sooner it will stop destroying people for acting like people. I would say that this (and the animus against gambling) is a legacy of Puritanism but that doesn’t hold water, as evidenced by the allowance of pornography, freedom of speech, etc, things which would have been anathema to the Puritans.

So what did bring about these laws concerning young adults and shouldn’t they be wiped off the books to bring the US in line with the bulk of Western countries?

You might want to read this wiki page first. Age of consent is only 18 in some US states and most of those have a close-in-age exemption.

Statistically very few in the United States. The act isn’t a crime in most states; most states have an age of consent of 16. Many of the states that set it higher also allow for a “Romeo & Juliet” exception in which closely-aged couples are permitted. For example, the general age of consent in Tennessee is 18, but minors from age 15-18 may legally consent to sex with a partner within four years of their own age. That is, a 16 year old may have sex with an 18 or 19 year old without triggering Tennessee’s statutory rape provisions (See Tennessee Code 39-13-506(a) for details).

And even where it is illegal, it’s very very rarely prosecuted.

So my notional answer is: very few, statistically.

Also, per Wikipedia, “Pedophilia or paedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children.” Very few 16/17 year olds are prepubescent.

Yes, to nitpick, even a rigid application of the law is not creating “pedophiles”, it would be creaing artificial “sex offenders” or “child molesters”. It’s more of a relatively recent pop-media-culture thing in the USA that anyone who is involved with a legal minor is categorized as a “pedophile”, IMO that’s just moral panicmongering. (I was around when Traci Lords’ um, early artistic work, first hit the scene in the mid-80s. That 15-to-17 year-old was NO “child”. A pedophile may have been turned off.)
Mine is one of the few jurisdictions where the Romeo & Juliet window does NOT depenalize the act, but merely gives a smaller punishment, and as **Bricker **observed it’s not that often enforced.

Yes, back in 1999 there was a film review about Entrapment, starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The reviewer called Sean a pedophile, likely because of the 40 year difference, but Zeta-Jones was 30 at the time.

The term is used far too loosely.

Oh fer cryin’ out loud, really… this one wasn’t even in the same Area Code. What’s wrong with the time-tested “Dirty Old Man”? :stuck_out_tongue: I suppose not censorious enough to convey raging jealousy…

And of course there’s those who adscribe pedophillic inclinations behind the pubic waxing fashion of the last couple of decades.

Fathers of 16 year old daughter, who make the laws.
I guess be happy for laws, was a time they could have simply put your balls in a wine press and no one would say a word.

This makes it sound like “age of consent” laws are a holdover from an earlier, less enlightened time. Isn’t it the other way around—didn’t girls used to get married in their early teens?

The baby marriages were from an even earlier, even less enlightened time.

I would like to bring your attention to the fact that your wish here makes them also eligible to be fed to the meat grinder.

(which has nothing to do with me disagreeing with you, because 16 year old are not yet mature adults in my mind, i am personally thinking that you have never had any close hands on experience raising a kid at all ever. And i would go out on a limb to say that MOST parents probably wish that at 18, they still had more time to prepare them)

So, are they Children, or are they potential Food for the gods?
You choose, it is one or the other, there is no having your cake and eating it too.

I think the Post subject is misleading at best, as others have already addressed

Not very many. I couldn’t find any statistics, but statutory rape is pretty rarely charged on people at that age. Age of consent is 16 in the majority of the US (both by population and number of states), so it wouldn’t be charged in any of them, and many of the states with age of consent at 17 or 18 have exceptions for participants who are close in age. Since this is Great Debates, it’s really incumbent on you to provide the statistic instead of just saying “how many”. Do you have statistics on it?

Illinois Age Of Consent Law:

Although Illinois’ minimum marriage age (with parental consent or court order) is 16 there is no statutory exception to the age of sexual consent.

so someone could end up on the sex offender registry for having sex with their spouse in IL,

and in this case a man was allowed to have sex with his 17yo gf but the naked pics he had of her were deemed child porn.

so IL is indeed artificially creating sex offenders and even if it is, as Bricker guesses, “very few, statistically” i would ask, what happened to that old law school saw “better 100 guilty go free, than 1 innocent be convicted”?


Because short answer is Americans have lower IQ than Europe.

Okay that be politically correct, the government on purpose is dumbing down the education system.

The Americans rank lowest on math.

U.S. now ranks near the bottom among 35 industrialized nations in math

U.S. math and science scores rank “at the bottom” of industrialized countries

Most Americans can’t name any countries on map out side of the US.

And subjects like spelling and grammar are no longer subjects you learn in most school any more.

Only 30% Americans have passport!:eek::eek:

Americans have the highest prison population in the world.

Americans spend 5 hours on average watching TV.

Not spending the time reading books and going to other countries to see what goes on out side their own little bubble.

Southern states have the worse education system and the most obesity.

US election are kids yelling and screaming and political rhetoric. No political debates like UK and Canada. No US politician backs up any claim of why they support such policy.

There is no statistics and social science allowed doing elections.

All election must be dumbed down with political rhetoric and sound bites for the mass of people.

And this

And that the the average reading level in US is at 8th grade level!!!

**And than you wonder why Americans enact strange laws like this.

Or arresting people for filming the police in public or arresting people for jaywalking.


To answer you question you need to fix the Americans education system first before you can work on strange laws.

Americans have lot of strange laws this is only one of them.

The theory I’ve heard is that this is due to California. There are only ten states where the age of consent is eighteen but California is one of them. Because so much of our entertainment is created in California, the idea that the age of consent is eighteen becomes universal.

That even has its own TVTropes entry (SoCalization) and this is one of the examples.

Also eighteen is in most if not all of the states the age when you are a legal adult to incur obligations in your own name w/o parental consent – and it gets easily misassociated with other meanings of “consent”.
Eighteen IS a federally mandated minimum age to participate in or consume porn, though, so the question HAS arisen if an otherwise fully legal 17/16 couple can still be on the hook for kiddy porn for sexting naked selfies to each other.

I find age of consent laws to be so riddled with contradictions that I honestly wonder what is the point of them. If the minimum age is 16, then at 16 you are considered mature enough to have sex with an adult at any age. It’s not illegal for a 16 year old to have sex with a 50 year old. But a 15 year old and an 18 year old? CALL THE COPS!!! It’s ridiculous.

And don’t even get me started on the minefield that is sexting. Two minors who, according to the law, are legally mature enough to consent to sex somehow are forbidden by law to express their sexuality through technology. I’m so thoroughly confused by it all.

So how old are you, how old was she, and what was the sentence?

Not to nitpick but even if it was 2 14 year olds, the pics would still be considered child porn. I think that is a separate item no?

why is she old enough to consent to have sex and get married, but is not old enough to have nude pics?